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Now that we’re more than halfway through 2017, it’s time for a little mid-year in review at the current entrepreneurial landscape. Most of us are more than familiar with what famous ‘treps like Mark Zuckerberg and Evan Spiegel are up to, but who’s making waves and on the up and coming list when it comes to millennial entrepreneurs?
From coding to renewable energy and even being included on the Forbes 30 Under 30 2017 list, we rounded up five entrepreneurs impacting our world that you should start following immediately (if you aren’t already).
Millennial entrepreneurs with major impact
Lewis Bowen, Founder, Air
Each year, 4.3 million lives are lost to air pollution caused by burning fuels indoors all over the world. As the founder of Air, a startup billed as “the clean fuel company,” Lewis Bowen is on a mission to eradicate harmful fuels and implement alternative energy solutions, like clean fuels, that are made possible through innovative products.
The four-year-old business has launched its products across the UK and Europe with some of their most innovative solutions including a range of smokeless and non-toxic bio-ethanol fuels and LightMe, bio-oil candles made from sustainable resources that have a burn time of 35 to 40 hours per candle.
Elizabeth Rees, Founder, Chasing Paper
Elizabeth Rees might not have planned to get into the family business (that business being Kubin-Nicholson, a 91-year-old Midwestern printing plant owned by her father), but fate had other plans in store for her. After doing a run of modular wallpaper using the plant’s digital printer while on the job at Kubin-Nicholson, the fashionable wallpaper became instantly popular with her friends and sparked some serious word of mouth.
Chasing Paper, an e-commerce brand that specializes in stylish, removable wallpaper, was born and invested in by Kubin-Nicholson as the company’s first startup. Another four-year-old business featured on our list, Chasing Paper is on track to hit $1 million in sales — pretty awesome when you note that their paper retails at $40 a piece!
Blair Brettschneider, Founder, GirlForward
As of 2017, the world stands on the brink of a global refugee crisis with more than 60 million people worldwide forced to flee their homes. Girls in particular are vulnerable to the conflict surrounding them and the challenges of reacclimating their lives in the U.S. Enter Blair Brettschneider, the founder of the five-year-old nonprofit, GirlForward. The nonprofit works to create mentorship, education and leadership opportunities for refugee girls in the United States. Already, they’ve worked with 200 girls and Brettschneider has recently been honored on the Forbes 30 Under 30 2017 list.
Chalmers Brown, Co-founder and CTO, Due
Ready for payments made awesome? That’s the mission behind Due, an online invoicing platform with the goal of helping every small business owner and freelancer focus on growing their company without ever worrying about getting paid. Each year, Due delivers millions of invoices with payment options available for everyone throughout the world. As the company co-founder and CTO, Brown wears quite a few entrepreneurial hats, including business advisor and mentor with some of his recent advice on protecting small businesses from credit card fraud, featured on Entrepreneur.
Karlie Kloss, Founder, Kode With Klossy
Before her first coding class in 2014, Karlie Kloss was famously known as a supermodel on the runway. Even she was nervous that she wouldn’t understand what it meant to build anything with code. This all changed a few courses later when she realized that coding is an intensely creative field and one that women shouldn’t shy away from learning.
Enter Kode With Klossy, the 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering girls with the tools and hands-on instructions they need to learn how to code. Kode With Klossy hosts girls’ coding summer camps to teach girls about coding so they can become leaders in tech. Camp scholarship are offered for girls ages 13 to 18 that want to build real-life apps with code, along with career scholarships awarded for girls post-camp who want to continue building a career in code.